The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Witcher 0.5

I have heard a lot of good things about this series from my Polish friend. This book series has also been turned into a video game, and most recently a NETFLIX series.

This led me to start watching the TV series. It was interesting, but it felt hollow. It felt like it was only scratching the surface of the world Sapkowski has created. I only watched 2 episodes then stopped for fear I was missing out on a richer experience from reading the book.

So I picked up the 'first' book in the series, The Last Wish, [more on this below]. The book is far, far better than the series. You understand much more about the world, and the motivations behind the main character, Geralt, from the books. In the books he has far better, and wittier dialogue than the TV series where he mostly just grunts. Two of the episodes I watched are based on stories from this book; they were both better in the short stories. The TV series seems to skip important dialogue and interactions with other characters to focus more on Geralt and the fighting scenes.

So what is this book actually about?

This book is a collection of short stories about Geralt who is a Witcher. A Witcher is a modified human who has magical abilities, and his job is to roam the world killing evil monsters for gold. They are different than a knight because they work alone, and don't take sides in politics. They don't fight for ego, or honour, they kill monsters for money. Period. They are professional exterminators.

“People...like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”

Witcher Series order in English from GoodReads

Witcher collections (anthologies) #1 – The Last Wish #2 – Sword of Destiny

Witcher novels 1 – Blood of Elves 2 – The Time of Contempt 3 – Baptism of Fire 4 – The Tower of the Swallow 5 – Lady of the Lake 6 – Season of Storms

I certainly have the Witcher bug now and will continue reading other stories in the series. My advice to you would be – read the book(s) first, before watching the TV series.

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #12 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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